The grand F1 launches of old have been replaced by more conservative affairs these days, where teams reveal their latest challengers at their respective HQs. Gone are the days when a car might be shipped to Barcelona and revealed in front of a grand museum to the assembled hangers on of the sporting world press.
However they are still great showpiece occasions when the cars have been pimped up (and stripped of any meaningful front or rear aerodynamics) and put on show. Everyone has been briefed about the key questions they are likely to be asked and everybody has rehearsed their part.
So in these circumstances - when everything is harmony and happy optimism for the season ahead and when the first rounds of testing haven't dumped expectation on its arse, the things that aren't quite right stick out like a sore thumb. Here are a few of the flies in the ointment.
Force India Launch
Why haven't the team picked two drivers yet?
Poor old Paul di Resta looked like Billy No-Mates at the launch of the VMJ-06 because Force India haven't chosen their No.2 or their reserve driver for 2013. Launches are normally the one time when reserve drivers get their chance in the spotlight, but the Silverstone squad didn't even have a No.2 to sit on the car.
Boss Bob Fearnley said they certainly weren't going to have a testing shoot-out to see who was fastest, so presumably the only thing they're waiting for is a contractual wrangle to sort itself out. He also said this about 2012 reserve driver (and Ferrari protégé) Jules Bianchi: "If we'd had an ideal world we'd have liked to run Jules for two years as a third driver."
Bob explained that the plan was to run Paul and Nico for two years, through 2013, and have Jules step in in 2014. But that plan has been derailed for some time. Which gives you the idea that the people behind Jules are pressing for him to have a seat which Force India are reluctant to give him because it's a very valuable commodity.
Bob again: "Is Jules ready to go into a primary seat? Yes, he is. Absolutely. But we've just got to make sure we tick all the boxes now." Especially the box that says 'Your sponsors agree to hand over a lot of money.'
"And we don't have to rush those decisions. Today (at the car launch), a lot of the talk is about why we don't have other drivers here. Well, the key objective today is to launch the VJM06 and two new partners with our programme. We only needed one driver to do that."
Yes, and it looked very odd.
"Our two drivers are our trump cards"
Technical Director James Allison was playing his new E21 down and his drivers up at the Lotus launch. "By far and away the biggest trump card we have to play this year is that we have got two drivers who start the year [in strong shape]," Allison told Autosport.
"We're going to start with two drivers that are properly competitive and are going to put a lot of points down the oppositions' throats."
That's a very positive way to look at it, but some would say they easily have the fifth best driver line-up on the grid. Red Bull are perhaps strongest with Vettel and Webber, Ferrari are next with Alonso (best driver) and Massa (not quite as good as Webber). Mercedes are probably next with Hamilton and Rosberg ahead of Button and Perez. Raikkonen is arguably the least capable World Champion on the grid.
Last season he showed a strong conservative nature, not wishing to dive in and risk the car in major moves, ducking out of a key overtaking move on Vettel which lost him an early race victory. He finished a lot of races, but it wasn't exactly balls out stuff.
Grosjean is still on probation following an appalling Japanese Grand Prix starting incident, which many view as worse than Spa because it was so mullet-headed. A couple of races where he didn't cause major damage or disgrace himself doesn't convert him into a trump card. Unless we're talking about the Johnny Fartpants interpretation of "trump".
With all the speculation about Allison potentially going to McLaren and Paddy Lowe going to Mercedes perhaps he was trying to deflect attention...
Fernando Alonso will not drive at the first test
Although the information had been out there before we got to the launch of the F138 at Maranello, until then it wasn't clear that the decision for Fernando not to take part in the first test was not his.
Having been so pumped up about the 2012 World Championship, the feeling was that Fernando would want to get in the new car at the earliest opportunity. So when he announced he was going to skip it and work on his fitness, there was surprise in the PF1 office. Had he spent the winter eating all the pies...? (Known in the trade as a Juan Pablo Montoya off-season)
"The decision was made by the team, not the drivers," said Luca Montezemolo at the launch this week. "We make the decisions in agreement with them."
"It will give additional training time for Fernando. The Jerez tests will not focus directly on performance, so we decided to continue his preparation so he will be ready for Barcelona, where we will concentrate more on performance."
Fernando himself concurred: "I was busy in December and January, and up until a week ago we were involved in activities," he said. "I will follow the tests with great interest and all the information that comes back from Jerez I will be looking at."
This gives Felipe three days in the car at Jerez and one day for Pedro de la Rosa to set up a baseline. You'd have thought that Fernando would have wanted to spend maybe one day seeing what it was like when it came out of the box. One day off the training regime isn't make or break. Now it will be interesting to see if Massa and Alonso split the testing duties 50/50 after this point or if Fernando gets those 'three testing days in lieu' back further down the line.
Or maybe Fernando has the advance weather forecast and knows it's going to be snowing... (a bit like last year).